Repeat DUI offender found guilty of crash killing man sleeping on bench

CHULA VISTA, Calif. – A repeat DUI offender who drove over a curb on a Chula Vista street while drunk, killing a man sitting on a bus bench, was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter while impaired and hit-and-run.

Nicholas Ruben Ramirez, 29, was also convicted of DUI with injury. He faces 15 years to life in prison plus eight years when he is sentenced March 2.

Chula Vista police said Ramirez had just left a bar in the 1400 block of Third Avenue in Chula Vista about 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2016, when he crashed his car into a parked vehicle and drove off.

Ramirez returned a few minutes later, and witnesses to the non-injury accident confronted him, police said. He then sped off again and lost control of his car, which hopped a curb on Third Avenue near Orange Avenue and struck 65-year-old William Gerling, severing one of his legs. The victim was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Ramirez has two prior DUIs from 2009, according to Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright.